BOSTON — In front of a cold, empty house at the TD Banknorth Garden, Boston College skated past Harvard 4-3 in a back-and-forth battle to secure third place in the 57th annual Beanpot.
Senior Benn Ferriero potted the game winner with just 42 seconds left in regulation to give his team its ninth win out of the 11 times BC has faced the Crimson in the consolation round of the tournament.
The action began when Harvard went on its first power play at 7:35 after BC rookie Edwin Shea was put in the box for crosschecking. Then at 8:22, sophomore Nick Petrecki joined his teammate for slashing and gave the Crimson a two-man advantage.
But Harvard waited until Shea got out and it was five-on-four to score the first goal. Harvard captain Brian McCafferty shot from the left point in the BC zone, it rebounded off of Eagle goalie John Muse (19 saves) and Pier-Olivier Michaud was there to one-time it in to put the Crimson on the board at 10:10.
Harvard sophomore goalie Ryan Carroll (42 saves) stood patiently in net when his team scored, something he’s not used to as it was his first career start and only his third game of the year.
“It was nice to finally be able to start a game, in the Beanpot especially,” said Carroll. “It was crazy in the first period, but then I kind of settled in; my teammates helped me out a little bit.”
But soon after, it was BC’s turn on the power play when Harvard’s Steve Rolecek was called for slashing. BC kept pressure in the Crimson zone, but it wasn’t until the Eagles were handed a five-on-three at 13:02 — when Rence Coassin took a seat for contact-to-the-head roughing — that they were able to generate a goal.
BC tied it up when sophomore Joe Whitney slapped one past the Crimson netminder from the center slot off a pass from Ferriero at 13:12.
The opening period ended with BC outshooting Harvard by three, but by the end of the game, BC more than doubled Harvard’s shot output, 46-22.
“We struggled a little bit establishing our forecheck,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “We started to take penalties and allowed their highly-skilled offensive guys to get in rhythm. I think the second half of the game we let them really carry the play.”
The action kept up in the second stanza with four goals, two for each team, with the first coming six and a half minutes in by Harvard.
Left winger Matt McCollem took the shot, bouncing the puck off Muse’s pads just before another Crimson crashed into the net, but Michaud was there for the rebound to tally his second goal of the night.
But BC liked answering; rookie Jimmy Hayes had the puck down low in the right circle and fed it to the crease, where Brian Gibbons tapped it in on the rush to make it 2-2 at 8:06.
Less than a minute later, Harvard went a man down when Ian Tallett was sent to the box for crosschecking. In just seconds, the Crimson produced a shorthanded goal. Senior Nick Coskren was the lone Crimson body who beat two Eagles and Muse to put Harvard back on top at 9:04.
The Eagles, however, flew back with another goal just minutes before the end of the second period. A crowd congregated in front of the Harvard net, but Ben Smith got the puck and pushed it past Carroll to tie the game for the third time in less than 40 minutes.
But the decisive goal came late in the third; with a dramatic finish, assistant Eagle captain Ferriero got the game winner at 19:18 to end the dreaded overtime thoughts among the crowd.
“I saw the BC player come and attack our player and I kind of lost sight of the puck,” explained Carroll. “All of a sudden it’s on his tape right in front of the net and he just put it past me.”
York was impressed with Ferriero’s aggression all game. “I thought tonight Benny Ferriero had his best game of his senior year,” he said. “I thought he was a real factor in a lot of different areas. I thought Johnny Muse survived a tough exchange. Those were the two key players for us tonight; I think Johnny’s ability to not get rattled … and I thought Benny Ferriero was just on top of his game tonight.”
York added, “This game had ramifications for us as far as the PairWise,” said York. “You know we certainly weren’t trying to win third place in the Beanpot; all we needed was some W’s.
“I think we’re making some progress,” he added. “But we’ve got a long way to go because we’ve set the bar pretty high on how we want to play.”
The two teams will play host this Friday the 13th, as Colgate travels to Harvard and UMass-Lowell will go to The Heights.